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FilmsAsia: Asian film reviews
Soh Yun-Huei
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   Summer Holiday  


Summer Holiday

Reviewed by Soh Yun-Huei

Chinese Title: Ha yat dik lut lut cha
Director: Jingle Ma
Cast: Richie Ren, Sammi Cheng
Language: Mandarin
Country: Hong Kong
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Year released: 2000
Runtime: 98 min
Rating: ** (out of four stars)

Summer Holiday (Xia Ri De Mo Mo Cha) is the latest film from Jingle Ma, whose last directorial effort was Tokyo Raiders. Summer Holiday stars popular actors/singers Sammi Cheng and Richie Ren, along with Malaysian singers Ah-Niu and Michael Wong, and local Television Corporation of Singapore starlet Tay Ping Hui cameos. Sammi Cheng plays Summer Koo, a career-minded Hong Kong stockbroker who loses her job and her boyfriend (Tay Ping Hui) in one fell swoop. She then finds out that a conglomerate is planning to purchase a beach that she co-owns with her cousin in Malaysia for an attractive sum. She flies over to Malaysia, but discovers that her cousin has given half the beach to Mo Mo Cha (Richie Ren), a laid-back beach bum that has no intention of selling the beach. Summer tries to change his mind, and slowly but surely a romance begins to develop between the two of them. Can the love between these two polar opposites be true love?

Summer Holiday is a movie that is rather pleasing on the eye. It features a gorgeous beach (Pulau Redang) with all the prerequisites - clear blue waters, fine white sand, coconut trees swaying in the breeze... Nothing like the generally mediocre beaches found in Singapore. Richie Ren and Sammi Cheng also both acquit themselves as rather credible actors, although the roles are not particularly challenging ones. For those who are on the lookout for babes/hunks, Richie Ren spends over 80 percent of the show baring his toned and tanned torso, whilst Sammi Cheng looks decidedly above average. Echo Shen (I think that's her name) plays a sweet young thing Yau Yau, and whilst not as charismatic as Zhang Ziyi (of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), she is certainly a pleasant addition to the cast. Our local starlet Tay Ping Hui, however, is simply an extra in the film, and should not seriously be even brought into the picture when talking about the main (or even supporting) cast.

However, the plot of Summer Holiday is rather thin, and at times it feels more like an extended MTV than a movie. Of course, this is a summer movie, and plot is not really a major concern in such movies. Unfortunately, Jingle Ma ocassionally allows the movie to degenerate into melodrama, and the tone of the film becomes too heavy at times. One pivotal scene in the film involves Summer and Mo Mo Cha floating in the ocean, and Mo Mo Cha tells an exhausted Summer to hold on. The music accompanying the sequence involves an instrument that sounds similar to a pan flute. Sounds familiar? I am sure those who have watched Titanic would definitely get a sense of deja-vu.

Overall, Summer Holiday is a credible summer movie effort, and in a season where the majority of films have been rather disappointing, it is a movie that is slightly above average. A light-hearted movie, similar to Japanese drama Beach Boys, and featuring an equally fresh-faced cast, Summer Holiday is set to win the hearts of many audiences.

Final word: Light-hearted and easy on the eye, highly suitable for the coming summer holidays.